Word&Way News: Aug. 19
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. In addition to a report on the political misuse of Ephesians 6 that is free for anyone to read, paid subscribers to A Public Witness received a look at how Southern Baptists are responding to news that the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the denomination.
Top 5 at wordandway.org
Recognizing Gifts and the Future of the Church. Greg Mamula wrote about the importance of recognizing, celebrating, and unleashing the gifts and talents of all people.
Review: Azusa Reimagined. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed Azusa Reimagined: A Radical Vision of Religious and Democratic Belonging by Keri Day.
Frederick Buechner, Popular Christian ‘Writer’s Writer’ and ‘Minister’s Minister,’ Dies at 96. Emily McFarlan Miller reported on the passing of a famed Presbyterian minister and author.
Lag in Slavery Reparations from U.S. Jesuits Irks Descendants. Deepa Bharath reported on criticisms of the Catholic order that isn’t living up to its promise to pay reparations to descendants of enslaved persons sold by the Jesuits to save Georgetown University in 1838.
Mideast’s Jordan River: Rich in Holiness, Poor in Water. Mariam Fam wrote about the decline of the famed Jordan River.
This week: Bob Smietana on Reorganized Religion
Other News of Note
Jordana Rosenfeld of the Pittsburg City Paper reported on local faith leaders condemning the Christian Nationalism of Pennsylvania gubernatorial hopeful Doug Mastriano (which was previously documented by A Public Witness).
Diana Chandler of Baptist Press reported on news that about 400 Ukrainian Baptist congregations have been lost since the Russian invasion in February. Before the war, there were about 2,300 Baptist churches in Ukraine.
Marina Lopes of the Washington Post reported on how Brazilian presidential candidates Jair Bolsonaro and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva are competing for the votes of the growing demographic of evangelicals.
We’ve reported on various political candidates campaigning in churches in our “partisan pulpit” series this year. Here are two candidates who showed up in churches this week: Georgia Republican U.S. Senate nominee Herschel Walker (who often speaks in churches) was interviewed during Sunday worship at Cross Pointe Church in Duluth by Pastor James Merritt; and Florida Democratic hopeful Nikki Fried appeared in Sunday worship at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee.
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
Early in the pre-dawn hours of Thursday morning (Aug. 18), Israeli forces burst into St. Andrew’s Anglican Episcopal Church in the West Bank city of Ramallah. The raid was part of a campaign against Palestinian human rights organizations, one of which rents office space from the church. The church building suffered damage to the door and windows. And soldiers occupied the whole building — not just the rented offices but also the sanctuary and medical center — for hours as sounds of gunshots, stun grenades, and smashing of doors filled the air.
The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem said in a statement it “unequivocally condemns this attack on one of its sacred places of worship, as well as the devastation of church property, as both a violation of international law and a terroristic act against the entire community.” Thus, they’ve called for an official investigation to lead to disciplinary actions against those who violated the church’s religious rights.
But we shouldn’t expect justice in this case. Sadly, it’s not even getting much attention. A church under attack would often make headlines across the United States, but for political and theological reasons we often overlook the mistreatment of Christians in Israel. Many U.S. Christians today support politics that actually harm Christians in Israel and Palestine. We talk a lot about the early Christians in that region and archaeological insights while ignoring the voices of the living stones still there today.
When we allow allegiances to a nation or belief in a doctrinal theory to keep us silent about the desecration of a church, then we allow idolatry to keep us from following the biblical command to suffer when one part of the Body of Christ suffers.
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